The Instigator
Thomistic_Calvinist
Pro (for)
Winning
1 Points
The Contender
Reductio
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

The Argument from Motion proves that God exists.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Thomistic_Calvinist
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/5/2016 Category: Religion
Updated: 8 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 304 times Debate No: 92379
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (10)
Votes (1)

 

Thomistic_Calvinist

Pro

To begin, we start with an a posteriori argument, or an argument from experience. Arguments from experiences of the world to the existence of God are called cosmological arguments. This particular argument is the argument from motion.

Argument from Motion:

P1. Some things are moved.
P2. If something is moved to being F, then it is potentially but not actually F.
P3. If something moves a thing to be F, then it (the mover) is in a state of actuality relevant to F.
C1. If something were to move itself to be F (e.g., be both moved and its own mover), then it would be both potentially but not actually F and also in a state of actuality relevant to F (conjunction, modus ponens, P1-3).
P4. But it is not possible for something to be both potentially but not actually F and also in a state of actuality relevant to F.
C2. It is not possible for something to move itself to be F (modus tollens, C1, P4).
P5. If it is not possible for something to move itself to be F, then if something is moved, it is moved by something else.
C3. If somemthing is moved, it is moved by something else (modus ponens, C2, P5).
P6. If B moves A and B is moved, then B must be moved by some other thing, C. And if C is moved, then C must be moved by still some other thing, D. And so on.
P7. If the series of movers was to go on to infinity, then there would be no first mover.
P8. If there were no first mover, then there would be no motion.
C4. There is a first mover (modus tollens, P1, P7).
C5. That first mover is the thing that everyone takes to be God (definition).

The argument is plainly valid and seemingly sound. I will leave it to con to find any objections to this argument; however, I will respond to one preemptive problem that may seemingly arise. The issue comes from a seeming contradiction between Newton's law of inertial motion, or Newton's first law of motion, and the Aristotelian definition of motion on which the argument above rests. The problem may be resolved in two ways. Firstly, to assert that there is a contradiction is to equivocate between two different definitions of the word motion. Newton's account of motion is only concerned with local motion (motion or change in terms of place or location), while the Aristotelian is concerned with change of every sort (quality, quantity, substance, accident, etc.). Secondly, there is no formal contradiction. As the Thomist philosopher Edward Feser says:

"Suppose that "motion" is being used in the two principles in the same sense. Even given this assumption, there is no formal contradiction between them. Newton"s law tells us that a body will in fact continue its uniform rectilinear motion if it is moving at all, as long as external forces do not prevent this. It does not tell us why it will do so. In particular, it does not tell us one way or the other whether there is a "mover" of some sort which ensures that an object obeys the First Law, and which is in that sense responsible for its motion."

It seems that we have established a valid and sound argument for the existence of what we can, for all intents and purposes, call God.
Reductio

Con

Thank you very much for such a warm welcome into this debate. I will be proceeding to work through your reasoning, as best I can, but I fear I may have some issues with interpretation.

I have a bit of an issue with how the argument is presented here. The premises and conclusions here seem, frankly, much too vague in their use of language. In accordance with this, I have given my best interpretation of the first few premises and the very first conclusion here. Please correct me if I am mistaken.

P1: Some things are moved (or changed).
P2: If something is in the process of changing to state F, it is potentially state F, but not actually state F.
P3: If something changes a thing to be in state F, then the thing acted upon is actually in state F, and the mover (something) is in a state where the truth of the thing being in state F is genuine.
C1: If something were to change itself to be in state F (i.e. if it were be both the changed and the instigator of that change), then it would be both potentially in state F, but not actually in that state, and also actually in state F (conjunction, modus ponens, P1-3).

If this interpretation is inappropriate, I welcome you to correct me accordingly, but supposing that this interpretation is valid, your very first conclusion is obviously false. Your second and third premise indicate certain pathways along a process; if something is in the process of -being- "state F" it is, by definition, not already in that state, yet if it is changed -to be- in state F, then it is in state F. In these two points, you are making a clear distinction between the terms "being", and "be", and this distinction is important, and the only reason we are willing to accept those premises. In other words, they are not interchangeable phrases. In your first conclusion, you ignore this distinction, and claim that these two premises support the conclusion, when the reality is that only one premise supports half of the conclusion.

To put it plainly, in the beginning of your first conclusion, you state " If something were to move itself to be F...", in other words, if the thing is already in state F, or if it is in the "be" position, then it is potentially but not actually F, which is not true. The second clause of your conclusion is true, because you are claiming that it is F, but the first clause is not, because you are using "to be F", which is attached to your third premise, interchangeably with "in the process of becoming F", which is connected to your second premise, but which does not apply here because we have already established that the thing is already in state F.

I apologize, because I realize reading that can be confusing, so I will try to speak even more clearly here. Your first conclusion is relying on your second premise, but your second premise only applies to that conclusion if the 'thing' in question is in the process of being changed to F. You very clearly state, at the beginning of that conclusion, that the 'thing' is in state F, not in the process of becoming state F, and, under that circumstance, you can not apply the conclusions embedded in your second premise to your first conclusion.

If this conclusion is false, then so is C2. If C2 is false, so is C3, and your whole argument basically falls apart.
Debate Round No. 1
Thomistic_Calvinist

Pro

The reconstruction of my argument is not valid as its use of technical terminology is misplaced. For example, you say, in your reconstruction of P2 that:

P2: If something is in the process of changing to state F, it is potentially state F, but not actually state F.

However, something that is in the process of change is said to be in act and not potency or potentiality. P3 is also vague. I would prefer you use my original premises rather than your reconstruction as I think that is where the main problem lies. I will provide the relevant section in this round.

P1. Some things are moved.
P2. If something is moved to being F, then it is potentially but not actually F.
P3. If something moves a thing to be F, then it (the mover) is in a state of actuality relevant to F.
C1. If something were to move itself to be F (e.g., be both moved and its own mover), then it would be both potentially but not actually F and also in a state of actuality relevant to F (conjunction, modus ponens, P1-3).

You then say:

Your second and third premise indicate certain pathways along a process; if something is in the process of -being- "state F" it is, by definition, not already in that state, yet if it is changed -to be- in state F, then it is in state F. In these two points, you are making a clear distinction between the terms "being", and "be", and this distinction is important, and the only reason we are willing to accept those premises. In other words, they are not interchangeable phrases. In your first conclusion, you ignore this distinction, and claim that these two premises support the conclusion, when the reality is that only one premise supports half of the conclusion.

This is patently false. C1 is sound because it is stating that a mover cannot be in both act and potency in respect to itself, or, in other words, it cannot be its own cause of motion as x as the cause would have to precede itself. By modus ponens (if p then q, p, therefore q), if something moves itself then x moves and is in a state of potency and act(p then q), x is moved (p), therefore x is in a state of movement where it is in potency and act at the same time. This is clearly impossible and is directly denied by P4 and C2.
Reductio

Con

As much as my reconstruction of your argument may not be accurate, your original argument can not be valid in it's current format either, which is why I have been trying to alter it. I would give the benefit of the doubt to you that there is some form of logic behind it, but in it's current manifestation, it's riddled with issues. Let's examine some of these first.

"P2. If something is moved to being F, then it is potentially but not actually F."

This is patently false as it is written now, and unnecessarily vague in it's use of language on top of this. I will draw from an example explaining this first mover argument from another source, to begin with here: "And the only way for something that is potentially hot to become hot is for it to be affected by something that is actually hot." (1)

Please note that I am using this quote only as a possible example we could use in place of the placeholder that F is currently holding. So, F has to potentially describe something that could exist in the real world, or else it is a meaningless variable. I am going to assume that temperature is a worthwhile stand in for one of the many things that F could represent. We will use the arbitrary temperature 600 degrees C. Your premise would then become:

"P2. If something is moved to being 600 degrees C, then it is potentially but not actually 600 degrees C."

I believe that using this concrete example is the best way to demonstrate why the language used for these arguments do not illustrate any sort of logical thinking, even if they may hint at a logical intention. If something is moved to being anything at all; it is, by definition, the thing that it has been moved to being. If you do not intend to express that meaning with your argument, then you need to change the wording of your argument, because it is currently false.

Continuing in this vein;

"P3. If something moves a thing to be F, then it (the mover) is in a state of actuality relevant to F."

"In a state of actuality relevant to F" is a non-statement. In what way would this mover be in a state that is relevant to F? Relevant how? Does the state of the mover have some deeper significance to the thing in F? You may laugh this off as a brutish argument against your string of logic, but those words are not being used by any definitions that we, as a larger community, commonly hold. You are abusing the language used in your arguments by selecting definitions for words that are contrary to what you would find in any dictionary, and using deliberately vague phrases, and I can only infer from this that the definitions put forward are meant to obscure any means for logical interpretations, and to grant yourself flexible language to work with in your premises.

In short, I reject the validity of your premises on the basis that they are not only needlessly incoherent, but currently patently false if we interpret them literally as they are presented.

1. https://www.princeton.edu...
Debate Round No. 2
Thomistic_Calvinist

Pro

"your original argument can not be valid in it's current format either, which is why I have been trying to alter it."

Here you are conflating validity and soundness. validity refers to the syllogistic structure of an argument while soundness refers to the truth value of the premises. You are attacking, in your rebuttal, the soundness of my premises, not the structure of the argument.

"Please note that I am using this quote only as a possible example we could use in place of the placeholder that F is currently holding. So, F has to potentially describe something that could exist in the real world, or else it is a meaningless variable. I am going to assume that temperature is a worthwhile stand in for one of the many things that F could represent. We will use the arbitrary temperature 600 degrees C. Your premise would then become:

"P2. If something is moved to being 600 degrees C, then it is potentially but not actually 600 degrees C."

I believe that using this concrete example is the best way to demonstrate why the language used for these arguments do not illustrate any sort of logical thinking, even if they may hint at a logical intention. If something is moved to being anything at all; it is, by definition, the thing that it has been moved to being. If you do not intend to express that meaning with your argument, then you need to change the wording of your argument, because it is currently false."

This is a misunderstanding of the distinction between act and potency (or potentiality) as it is used in the argument. If something is moved to being F, then it existed in a state of potency related to F. It's becoming F means that it is in act, or is actually F. What you express as P2 in your paragraph is a tautology, as anything moved to being F is of course F; however, P2 is not like that. P2 expresses the proposition that anything that is being moved or changed contains within it the potentiality for change or motion. This is not a tautology. It is a synthetic a priori analysis of what it means to be in motion.

" In what way would this mover be in a state that is relevant to F? Relevant how? Does the state of the mover have some deeper significance to the thing in F?"

Relevant here simply means relatedness of the sort that pertains to the matter at hand. So when I say:

P3. If something moves a thing to be F, then it (the mover) is in a state of actuality relevant to F.

What I mean to say is that if something moves a thing to be F, the the mover is in a state of actuality in a sense that is related to a thing's becoming F.
Reductio

Con

Reductio forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Thomistic_Calvinist

Pro

Thomistic_Calvinist forfeited this round.
Reductio

Con

Reductio forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by canis 8 months ago
canis
As i sad. You have no arguments for a god. you just have (logic)correlations that you reconstruct into (logic)causations.. And that is "the problem with god".. Reconstructed correlations transformed into reconstructed causations .. A stone can not swim...My mother can not swim...My mother must be a stone..
Posted by Thomistic_Calvinist 8 months ago
Thomistic_Calvinist
That isn't a refutation of my argument ...
Posted by canis 8 months ago
canis
Your arguments as you call them, are without any meaning /not argument, if you can not answer the 4 ?
Posted by Thomistic_Calvinist 8 months ago
Thomistic_Calvinist
God was never created. It follows from the argument from motion that God is an everlasting or eternal being.
Posted by canis 8 months ago
canis
1.When would a god have been created. 2.How..3. by what.?..4. and from what..?
Posted by Thomistic_Calvinist 8 months ago
Thomistic_Calvinist
We can discuss the argument in the comments if you like since it appears that Reductio has already taken me up on the debate.
Posted by ThinkBig 8 months ago
ThinkBig
I'm interesting in accepting the debate.
Posted by Thomistic_Calvinist 8 months ago
Thomistic_Calvinist
If you need clarification on anything feel free to ask.
Posted by Thomistic_Calvinist 8 months ago
Thomistic_Calvinist
As far as the debate is set up you should be able to accept the challenge! feel free to debate me!
Posted by Reductio 8 months ago
Reductio
I would like to accept this challenge, although I fear I lack an understanding of some of the philosophical jargon you use here. Therefore, I will leave it up to you whether to accept me as an opponent.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 8 months ago
dsjpk5
Thomistic_CalvinistReductioTied
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: Con ff many times, so conduct to Pro.